Hans Fritzsche

Hans Fritzsche

Hans Fritzsche was born in Bochum, Westphalia, in 1900. He served in the infantry in the German Army during the First World War. After the war he studied liberal arts at university but left before taking a degree.

Fritzsche found employed in the new field of radio and in September 1932 he was appointed as head of the Wireless News Department. Soon afterwards he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and advised Adolf Hitler on the use of this new medium.

He continued as head of the Wireless News Department when Joseph Goebbels became head of the Reich Ministry for People's Enlightenment and Propaganda. Later Fritzsche was given responsibility for the News Section of the Press Division.

In December 1938 Fritzsche was appointed chief of the Home Press Division. This organization controlled news publication in Germany during the Second World War. This post became even more important when the war started going badly for Germany and in May, 1942, it was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. For the rest of the war Fritzsche was chief of the Propaganda Ministry's Radio Division.

Fritzsche was taken prisoner by the Red Army in Berlin on 2nd May 1945. He was tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial but was found not guilty and released. However he was quickly re-arrested and after being found guilty of a variety of crimes by the German courts, was sentenced to nine years hard labour.

Fritzsche was released from prison on 29th September, 1950. Hans Fritzsche died of cancer on 27th September, 1953. His Memoirs were published in the United States in 1971.

Primary Sources

(1) Hans Fritzsche, statement at Nuremberg (September, 1946)

I do not by any means want to deny that I and my fellow workers selected news and quotations following a certain tendency. It is the curse of propaganda during war that one works only with black and white. But to my knowledge it is a mistake to believe that in the Propaganda Ministry thousands of little lies were hatched out. If we had lied on a thousand small things, the enemy would have been able to deal with us more easily than was the case.